I love running And I love the Boston Marathon but after completing two of them, my love for running really waned. Afterward, I decided to take a break from running and shift my focus toward cycling. I have been cycling a fair amount over the past decade but this year I decided to make it my primary activity.
Shortly after making this decision, I realized that if I wanted to get serious about cycling, it would be a good idea to learn how to keep my bikes in top condition. I began by cleaning and lubing the bikes every weekend. After a few weekends of trying to simultaneously hold the bike, turn the crank and aim the oil at the chain, it became apparent that I would have to invest in a bike stand. I bought a Park Tool PCS-10 with a detachable tool tray. This stand is kind of large and I did not want to be limited to working outside. I needed to find an indoor space.
There was only one option. Our house has a furnace room in the basement that also doubled as a place for me to store tools and building materials. After two decades of placing tools on the top of the stack and shoving boxes under a table, it was an absolute mess.
I decided to devote an entire weekend to cleaning it and see how far I got. Surprisingly, by Sunday evening, it was completely empty. I also scrubbed the floor and walls and removed the intense cobwebs from the ceiling. This was actually going to work!
Once I had a space, the next step was to add some shelves. One wall had a wood panel which works great for hanging tools. I also uncovered a small but handy tool cabinet that I inherited years ago from my father. The final step was to add more lighting. I upgraded the overhead light bulb from 40 watts to 100 and purchased a second light with another 100 watt bulb.
Now I needed tools. The bicycle world is loaded with special fittings and uniquely shaped parts. It seems like each bike I have worked on so far has required one or more new tools. At this point, I have accumulated a fairly impressive arsenal of cassette lockring tools, bottom bracket wrenches and crank pullers. I have also become a huge fan of Park Tool. Not only do they make great tools but they provide you with tons of information about how to use them.
One thing that I did not realize was the amount of chemicals and cleaners that were needed to work on bikes. Especially if you want to get involved with painting them. I stocked up on cleaners, degreasers, rust dissolving solution and an airplane-grade paint stripper.
The shop was ready and I began working on my first project. An early 90’s GT Timberlane mountain bike that I picked up for free. I will provide all of the details of that in another post.
I can’t tell you how much fun it is to turn on some music and work on bikes. And, I get to know my bikes inside and out. When I hear a strange noise coming from the bike, chances are that I can identify exactly what is causing it and fix it.